Bandmates, Friendship, and Creating Together with Blackberry Pyper, Exhaler, and Audrey Riggs.

March 29, 2024 - 10:22 PM

By Lucy Lassman

Contrary to popular belief, the University of Denver and the University of Colorado Denver are two different institutions. However, on the evening of February 29th, it would be impossible to distinguish the two schools. CU and DU students came together at Glob, with a lineup featuring the best bands of both schools. Blackberry Pyper, Audrey Riggs and her band, as well as Exhaler and Surprise Soup, put on a hell of a show, proving just how talented college bands can be, and to never underestimate the complexities and creativity of the adolescent mind.

First up was Blackberry Pyper, who got the ball rolling with power. They produced a stellar set, with incredible dynamics and nuance. Members Pyper Tiffany, Charlie Laxague, GG Tyler, and Nick Schell came with a purpose and hit every mark. I had the chance to speak with them following their set, where they showed that their synergy exists off-stage as well. When asked how they’ve grown as musicians together, bassist GG commented that “getting to play with people who push you to be better is the best thing you could ask of a friendship and a bandmate.” Their presence and performance on stage are a clear demonstration of how powerfully a strong foundation of friendship can elevate the work of a band.

Another band that seems to have gotten the hang of creating as a collective is Exhaler. University of Denver students, Grady Dionne, Julian Horne, Bryson Miller, Elan Jimenez, and Trevor Briggs constitute the group. Defining themselves as a “post-indie indie band,” they certainly carry an eccentric and fresh sound in their music and presence on stage. Each song was ornamented with captivating riffs, fills, bass lines, and instrumentals. Their songs are curious and unexpected, you can never be too sure what’s to come next. In conversation, they mentioned the trust that they have in each other when it comes to writing. Guitarist Grady Dionne said that they’re “very similar but also different in key ways which keeps things fresh.” Coming from different backgrounds, each member can contribute to their sound as a whole through added layers of complexity. Singer and keyboardist Trevor Briggs says that he’s been able to “build a musical identity in a way [he’s] never experienced before.”

Accepting your bandmate for who they are is one of the most important factors in overall success. Audrey Riggs and her band seem to have gotten that down. Jasmine Rose, one of the guitarists supporting Audrey feels that “in this band, people see me as who I am and who I want to be.” Members Luke Wallenberg, Kai Wilson, Will Stoll, Jasmine Rose, and of course, Audrey Riggs have a very special connection with each other. They form this massive ball of light and laughter. Even when rehearsing, they value the “in-between moments” that feed their relationship and drive the force behind their performance. On stage, they’re experts at getting the crowd to go wild. Audrey and her Riggs possess this contagious exuberance that fills the room. From the moment the group stepped on stage, not one person was standing still.

If there’s any takeaway from my conversations with these bands, it’s how having a group to grow with as people and as musicians can allow for a type of development unique to the experience of playing together as a band. Each group has a different sound, presence on stage, and story, yet the thread that ties them together is the ability to create with one another and share that externally. Being able to witness that in discussion and the audience is something that I won’t forget, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to see.

Follow Blackberry Pyper, Exhaler, and Audrey Riggs to keep up with these Denver collegiate creatives.


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